Clark, professor of law – Catholic University, ‘95
(Leroy D., 73 Denv. U.L. Rev. 23)
I must now address the thesis that there has been no evolutionary progress for blacks in America. Professor Bell concludes that blacks improperly read history if we believe, as Americans in general believe, that progress--racial, in the case of blacks--is "linear and evolutionary." n49 According to Professor Bell, the "American dogma of automatic progress" has never applied to blacks. n50 Blacks will never gain full equality, and "even those herculean efforts we hail as successful will produce no more than temporary 'peaks of progress,' short-lived victories that slide into irrelevance." n51
Progress toward reducing racial discrimination and subordination has never been "automatic," if that refers to some natural and inexorable process without struggle. Nor has progress ever been strictly "linear" in terms of unvarying year by year improvement, because the combatants on eitherside of theequality struggle have varied over time in their energies, resources, capacities, and the quality of their plans. Moreover, neither side could predict or control all of the variables which accompany progress or non-progress; some factors, like World War II, occurred in the international arena, and were not exclusively under American control.
With these qualifications, and a long view of history, blacks and their white allies achieved two profound and qualitatively different leaps forwardtoward the goal of equality: the end of slavery, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Moreover, despite open and, lately, covert resistance, black progress has never been shoved back, in a qualitative sense, to the powerlessness and abuse ofperiods preceding these leaps forward. n52